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Sunday
Apr052009

In Which I Profess My Love for Labor and Delivery Nurses

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Nurses largely define the hospital birth experience. I will never forget Lisa, the nurse that stood at the foot of my bed while the worthless Fentanyl was wearing off and as I became more lucid and less panicked. I was panicked, of course, because Fentanyl did not “take the edge off the pain” as one of the nurses told my husband it would, but rather it took the edge off my brain and I was left blinded and hyperventilating. Lisa saw me hyperventilating and told me to “blow out the candle.” I had my husband on one side and my doula on the other, but something about knowing that a member of the institution was on my side and cared made it all better. Then, suddenly, her shift ended an hour and half before I gave birth.

I was really, really sad to see her go.

For the love of Lisa, that lovely woman who connected with me in labor, I offer you a few of my favorite labor and delivery nurse blogs that you can add to your collection.

 

Reality Rounds is an informative and hilarious new blog whose author is an L&D Nurse committed to calling a “Code Bullshit” when necessary on health stories in the media. In her words, “Reality Rounds is written by a nurse, for whom better to cut through the BS of health care than the professionals who do it for a living. Nurses! Nurses are under represented in the media, so here is our chance to let our voices be heard.”

 

 

Stork Stories… Birth and Breastfeeding is a new blog written by an OB/L&D/Neonatal nurse of 35 years. She offers a glimpse at how things were in maternity care 35 years ago and throughout the years. As a 35 year old, I find it all particularly interesting.

From The Vintage 1970’s Maternity Ward:

The mom’s would push in the labor room until it was time to go to the delivery room……THEN we would move this poor lady onto a stretcher, barely cover her with a sheet and head across the hall into the Delivery Room where she had to move once again onto the Delivery Table.

The Delivery Room was treated with the respect of an operating room. Everything had to be “sterile” and everyone had to be dressed like we were doing open-heart surgery. We would crank crank crank the bed to move the bottom half away and the mom would get all draped up to her neck. For care of the baby, we used a Kreiselman Bassinet Resuscitator. This is an old green baby bed with a warmer over the top and oxygen/ suction/ positive pressure assisted breathing attachments. If the baby was in any trouble, we would call anesthesia to help if they were not already there giving the mom her requested “put me out” gases. Most babies were just fine, only sluggish and sleepy. If mom did get put out..she probably didn’t see her baby until many many hours later. Can you imagine? Twins were often a surprise…. this was before ultrasound. An episiotomy always seemed to be the norm.

Once delivered, the baby went to the nursery and became the immediate property of the nurses, only to be seen from a window and allowed to be with the mother at token intervals. The poor little baby was often keep without food/ only water for the first 12 hrs. (Breastfeeding was something only the hippies did.) The mother would be once again moved to a stretcher and taken to the Recovery Room where she was awoken, told if she had a boy or girl AND allowed a visit by her husband.

 

 

Nurse Jenna’s blog at Momaroo.com is written by a labor and delivery nurse and family nurse practitioner.  In the following two posts, Jenna shares a bit of “Pushing 411” and follows up on a previous post about birth wishes versus birth plans.

There is an Art and Science to Pushing Out a Baby

Birth Wish Part II

 

Having worked in labor and delivery for awhile, Jenna says she’s heard her share of crass comments from partners of the laboring woman, such as “Make sure you sew her up nice and tight.” Apparently nothing topped having a few mid-century-style “husband stitches” OFFERED to a woman who was distracted by her newborn baby.

From Inappropriate Vaginal Repairs:

However, there are still some things I will not accept. Recently, in a delivery, a woman had a completely normal vaginal birth. She had the good fortune of having no tears and had not needed an episiotomy (which most women do not need). Nevertheless, the doctor said (paraphrasing), “You didn’t have any tears, but I can go ahead and put a few stitches in any way to make things tighter so that sex will be better.” The patient, who was paying more attention to her baby than the doctor, said, “Whatever needs to be done; whatever you think is best.” Unbelievable. Needless to say this doctor is being written up and the situation is being addressed.

 

 

PinkyRN is one blog I never miss. She recently changed her tagline to “Birth, I think I will talk about birth!” And she does. Pinky is an L&D nurse that has been digging through some studies, questioning evidence versus practice, sharing frustrations and asking really interesting semi-rhetorical questions.I read her blog and then I always find myself thinking about it later.

 

 Edit (4-6-09): I should have asked before!  Who is your nurse superhero?

 

 

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Reader Comments (9)

Oh thanks! These blogs look like loads of fun!

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheFeministBreeder

I like these two:

http://www.atyourcervix.blogspot.com/

http://nursingbirth.wordpress.com/

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervbacwarrior

I love At Your Cervix! I've never read Nursing Birth before... it's great. Gracias!

April 6, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

Thank you so much for your "shout out"! I came home from work after catching many babies, saw your blog, and it made my day. I also love "At Your Cervix". I plan on spending a lot of time reading your blog recommendations tonight.

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterReality Rounds

You had to do this, didn't you? You just *had* to post more great blogs that I then had to add to my blog reader! And, of course, reading through a lot of the past posts. Oh, well, housework can wait. :-)

Seriously, though, these are great -- thanks!

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Ha ha ha! I know... I feel the same way about new blogs. And the layer of dust on the furniture thickens...

April 7, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

I'm so glad to hear the question 'who is your nurse super-hero?' As a home birth midwife I'm not in the hospital a whole lot, but I just have to throw this one out there. RN Catherine at Sharp Mary Birch in San Diego. She is amazing. Catherine was there for my cousin's birth and the birth of a friend of mine. As a doula-midwife, usually I am a little bit more detached from the outcome of a birth, but with people I know so well, and have so much personal history with, I can get a bit lost in the intensity of birth energy. Catherine is very California (think surfing), has been an L & D nurse for a long time (maybe since the 70s?) loves to help women have natural births and gives strong, loving support. So if you happen to be birthing at Mary Birch, ask for the 'tall nurse Catherine.' They'll know who you mean.

Sarah D.

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Davis

I will remember and pass on the recommendation of Tall Nurse Catherine! Thanks Sarah.

To anyone reading this, Sarah was my doula mentioned in the post. She's fantastic... a calm, strong presence.

April 23, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

Polly, sweet, kind Polly who angrily ran to get the doctor who'd put her off a number of times when she and I both KNEW it was time for me to push.

This blog is all done!
Thanks for wanting to comment. This is an archive of a blog that once was. Take care! Jill